Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most visited Uganda national parks by tourists who come on a Uganda safari tour, or specifically a chimpanzee trekking safari. Kibale National Park is an extensive national park that protects a large block of rainforest which offers some of the most excellent forest cover for bird watching in Kibale. Kibale National Park harbours the highest variety and concentration of primates unlike elsewhere in East Africa. With a variety of bird species, various primate species combined with great infrastructure in terms of accommodation, many interesting tourist activities and the ease of access to the park make Kibale Forest worth a visit on a Uganda safari.  

Kibale National Park is located in the south western part of Uganda in the district of Kabarole. Kibale Forest National Park has an elevation that ranges from 1110-1590 metres above sea level, and covers a total size of 776 square kilometres. Designated a national park in 1993, Kibale National Park has been a source of very many memorable experiences. 77% of Kibale National Park is a forested area covered with moist evergreen cover in the north and moist semi-deciduous forest in the south at a lower altitude. The rest of the park is comprised of grassland, swamps and plantations with exotic conifers. 13 primate species have been recorded in Kibale Forest National Park, as well as over 335 species of birds.

Key Bird species in Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park has well over 335 species of birds recorded than roam the park. The key bird species travellers can see include Red-chested flufftail, White-naped pigeon, green-breasted pitta, red-winged francolin, Joyful greenbul, grey-winged robin, masked and black-capped Apalises, the Uganda woodland warbler, orange-tufted and Tiny sunbirds, among so many others.

Primates and other wildlife species in Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park has 13 primates recorded to be in the park. The most sought after primates in the park are the chimpanzees that are over 1400 in number, which travellers can encounter with a chimpanzee tracking or chimpanzee habituation experiences in the park. Other primates in the park include grey-cheeked mangabey, Olive baboons, Guereza Colobus among so many others. Other wildlife in Kibale Forest National Park travellers can encounter include Bush pigs, Buffaloes, Elephants, Bushbuck among others whose trails you may see while in the park on nature walks or chimpanzee tracking.

Activities in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park is the most done activity in the park, for most travellers come just to encounter the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Chimpanzee tracking has travellers hiking the forest in search of the primates, and get to spend only one hour with them once encountered. Chimpanzee tracking rules should be followed, and travellers are reminded to pack essential chimpanzee tracking gear so as to have a smooth and memorable chimpanzee tracking safari in Kibale National Park.

Chimpanzee habituation

Chimpanzee habituation is only available in Kibale National Park. Chimpanzee habituation involves travellers spending more time with the chimpanzees alongside chimpanzee researchers and caretakers. You get to learn more about chimpanzees and their characters when on a chimpanzee habituation experience.

Hiking/Nature walks in Kibale Forest

There are a number of hiking trails in Kibale National Park that travellers can take to explore the park. Hiking/Nature walks in Kibale offer travellers with an opportunity to discover the habitats of Kibale. The Kibale Forest walk trail is the most common, and is 12km long taking anything between 5-6 hours to complete.

Birding in Kibale 

The Park is home to over 300 bird species, thereby making birding in Kibale a must do for birders. Kibale National Park is one of the Important Birding Areas in Uganda, thereby guaranteeing travellers with a variety of birds to spot. Keen birders can actually see more than 100 bird species with the guidance of a bird guide. 

The Bigodi wetland sanctuary itself inhabits about 138 species of birds, just outside Kibale National Park. Visiting it for bird safaris is rewarding.

Cultural tours 

The communities around Kibale Forest give travellers great cultural tours in guidance of local guides. While on a cultural tour, travellers get to visit a traditional village to see and experience their local and traditional way of life. Travellers also get to visit a local church, primary school, a traditional healer or even get to take part in the activities they may be doing like tilling land, cooking and anything else.

How to access Kibale Forest National Park

Travellers can access the park by both road and air. By road, Kibale Forest can be accessed via Fort Portal. From Fort Portal, take a road to Kamwenge which starts at the bridge over the Mpanga River in Fort Portal. Turn left at the junction 12km from Fort Portal and follow a signpost for a further 24km to Kanyanchu Tourist Centre. 

kibale forest monkeys

When to visit Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park can be visited throughout the year. The best time to visit Kibale Forest however is during the dry season when the trails are dry and passable. The dry season in Kibale National Park falls in the months of December to February and from June to September. 

Accommodation in Kibale Forest are well developed and range from luxury to basic options, thereby accommodating all kinds of travellers despite their budget. Some of the accommodation options one may consider include Ndali Lodge, Mantana Luxury Tented Camp, Primate Lodge, and many more.

Kibale Forest is one of the best Uganda safari destinations the Pearl of Africa has to offer. Chimpanzee tracking and chimpanzee habituation are the most after activities in the park, as well as birding in Kibale National Park. You can spend at least 2 days here, or more depending on your preferences. Travellers can also combine a chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park safari with a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, or with a Uganda wildlife safari to either Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls or Lake Mburo National Park. Combining a Kibale National Park safari with either a Rwanda safari or Congo safari or better yet Kenya safari is another way to even spice up your Africa safari. Reach out to a reputable tour operator to help you plan your best safari yet.

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